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Catalog Record: General James Robertson, father of Tennessee | HathiTrust Digital Library

Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher. James Robertson, pioneer, surveyor, soldier, Indian agent, political leader, and founder of Nashville, Tenn. Born in Brunswick County, Va. Although he obtained only limited formal schooling, he appears to have been at least acquainted with current political thought. Robertson was married in Wake County on 28 Oct. While accompanying Daniel Boone on his third journey across the Blue Ridge Mountains in , Robertson discovered the fertile region along the Watauga River.

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In , after the Battle of Alamance and the defeat of the Regulators with whom he had a great deal of sympathy, Robertson led a group of sixteen families from the outskirts of present-day Raleigh across the mountains to the Watauga River Valley to settle. They were joined in route by Daniel Boone and his brother, Squire , from the Yadkin Valley, along with others from the Sandy Creek Baptist Church section of Orange now Randolph County, all of whom were leaving North Carolina to escape the tyranny of the Royal government. The settlement soon saw, however, the need for some sort of government; consequently, under the leadership of Robertson and John Sevier of Virginia, they drew up a government modeled after that of a typical Virginia county.

The resulting Watauga Association formed a court of five men to undertake the business of government; both Robertson and Sevier were among the original members. This government was the first one free and independent of a foreign crown in North America, independent in the sense that it was organized without reference to outside authority. During these years Robertson was very active, and not only with matters relating to the government of Watauga, although most had to do with Indian affairs. He was appointed as one of the first agents for Watauga in negotiating with the Indians on the terms of the lease for the land on which the settlement was prospering.

In he participated in Lord Dunmore's War at the Battle of Point Pleasant , and in he played a vital role as negotiator in Richard Henderson 's purchase of Kentucky lands from the Indians. Concurrently he held the rank of captain in defense of Watauga's settlements against the attacks of the Cherokee. Robertson was well acquainted with the Cherokee, as he lived among them for part of , and was instructed by the North Carolina Assembly in to live with them in the fulfillment of his task as agent for the state, but he soon resigned this post. Meanwhile, in he had signed the petition of the Wataugans for incorporation into North Carolina.

Early in Robertson led an exploratory party of nine men overland across the Cumberland Mountains from Watauga and contemplated future settlement at French Lick, a trading post on the Cumberland River, on land purchased by the Transylvania Company. On 1 Jan. In collaboration with Judge Richard Henderson, founder of the Transylvania Company, Robertson and the rest of this small settlement drew up the Cumberland Compact, signed on 1 May , which set up a government for the entire western North Carolina territorial district that was patterned after the Watauga Association.

Robertson was elected chairman of the twelve-man Committee of the Cumberland Association, and he exhibited a firm and wise leadership during the early, critical years of the settlement. His own lack of education fostered his interest in providing educational facilities for the settlement. In the same year he represented his county in the North Carolina Assembly.

When difficulties in the western settlements led the frontiersmen to believe that the states were indifferent to their interests, Robertson, with others, played an active though obscure part in the Spanish Conspiracy from to He sat again in the North Carolina Assembly in During the same year he led the Coldwater expedition against the Indians. At the organization of the Tennessee country into the territory of the United States south of the River Ohio commonly known as the Southwest Territory in , President George Washington appointed William Blount territorial governor.

Blount, on 19 Dec. Early the next year Washington appointed him one of the brigadier generals, a post he resigned after ordering the militia on the Nickajack expedition against the Indians. Only three years earlier, Robertson had aided Blount in negotiating the Holston treaty with the Cherokee. Robertson remained active in politics.


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In he represented Davidson County in the constitutional convention of Tennessee, and in he entered the Tennessee Senate in place of Thomas Hardeman, who had resigned. In he acted with Return J. Meigs in negotiating yet another treaty with the Cherokee. During his later years Robertson served as Indian agent to the Chickasaw, residing for some time at Chickasaw Bluffs, site of present-day Memphis, and there he died and was buried. His remains were removed in and reinterred in the old city cemetery in Nashville. Wake sprang from three other counties: Johnston, Cumberland, and Orange.

Since neither Cumberland County , from Bladen nor Orange County , from Johnston, Bladen, and Granville were entities in , it seems that Johnson County would have been the name of the county in Robert M. McBride, ed. The collection includes many items of a genealogical or biographical nature.

For an inventory and partial indexes, see:. Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between and , often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals.

Catalog Record: General James Robertson, father of Tennessee | HathiTrust Digital Library

The sketches usually tend toward the laudatory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name.

Swarm from 3rd Ave. & James Robertson Nashville 4/11/19 Relocation

Some examples for the State of Tennessee are:. The webmistress of the Jefferson county usgenweb website "tried to create a list of her personal Top Ten Tennessee History Reference Books. The Family History Library has a sizable history collection for Tennessee consisting of two main types of records:. To find more books and articles about Tennessee 's history use the Internet Google search for phases like "Tennessee history.

To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here. From FamilySearch Wiki. Tennessee Wiki Topics. United States. Adopt a page today. A few Cherokees hid in the Great Smoky Mountains until their right to remain was recognized much later. World War I over 4. Many small farms were abandoned, and many families moved to cities. Over The Vietnam War cost the lives of 1, Tennesseans. A useful chronology can also be found in: Tennessee: A Guide to the State. American Guide Series. Department of Conservation, Division of Information, Available online.

Historical Content [ edit edit source ] Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including: Parents' names Maiden names of women Place of birth, death, or marriage Occupation Migration Military service Descendants Local Histories [ edit edit source ] Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Tennessee Records at Ancestry. Access [ edit edit source ] Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library , public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies.

Tennessee History: A Bibliography [5] This resource is a comprehensive guide to state and country history sources and manuscripts. Sesquicentennial Edition.

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The Tennessee Historical Commission. Nashville, Tennessee. Contains historical information as well as biographies about some of Tennessee's most prominent citizens. It includes A Guide to the U. Contains books, maps, pamphlets, historical documents and genealogies relating to Tennessee and other southern states. Tennessee, The Volunteer State, , Vol. Draper Manuscript Collection [11] The collection consists of nearly volumes of manuscripts, papers, and books collected by Lyman Copeland Draper about the history of the trans-Allegheny West, a region including the western areas of the Carolinas and Virginia, all the Ohio River Valley, and part of the upper Mississippi Valley from the s to The collection is divided into 50 series.

Some series are titled by geographic area, some by the names of prominent frontier leaders, and some by topic. Personal papers are much more rare than government or military records. For an inventory and partial indexes, see: Guide to the Draper Manuscripts [12] This guide gives series and volume descriptions for some of the Draper manuscripts. There are several indexes at the end of the book, including a name and subject index, an additional personal data index, and a list of references to Illinois. Index to Lyman C.

Draper Manuscripts. Nashville, Tenn. Free digital copy. Goodspeed History of Tennessee [17] This source contains histories of Tennessee counties, including a military history and an appendix of biographies. Here is a list of some Tennessee state histories: Carpenter, W. Philadelphia: J. Lippincott and Co. Digital version at Internet Archive. Hale, Will T. Hamer, Philip M. Tennessee, a History, , 4 volumes.

New York: American Historical Society, Free ditigal copy. History of Tennessee, its People and its Institutions. The Brandon Co. Includes the Constitution of Tennessee pp. History of Tennessee [18] This is a basic history of Tennessee, not indexed. Putnam, Albigence Waldo. James Robertson. Stitt, Southern Methodist Publishing House, Digital version at Google Books. The Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century: [19] This extensive history of the early settlement era includes a map, a few biographical sketches, and an index.

Smith, Daniel. A very early history. Moore, John Trotwood and Justin P. Foster, editors. Tennessee: The Volunteer State, , 4 vols. Nashville: S. Clarke Publishing Co. This indexed four-volume set includes church information and Tennessee history in addition to three volumes of biographies. United States History [ edit edit source ] The following are only a few of the many sources that are available: The Almanac of American History , [22] This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.